Wet Weather May Lead To Increase In Mosquito Population

By Justin Wilfon

(LOUISVILLE) -- The health department says the recent rains will likely increase the number of mosquitos that could be carrying the potentially deadly West Nile disease. WAVE 3's Justin Wilfon investigates.

Lots of standing water from the recent wet weather means conditions are ripe for mosquito breeding.

That's the warning from Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson and the health department this week.

Health officials say the mosquito population has been relatively low so far this year, but now that the ground is much more moist, that could change.

"Since we did have all of that rain and increased standing water, we could see more mosquitos at this time of year."

But health officials say it could be worse.

"A lot of the rain was a slow rain. We didn't have a lot of heavy downpours, so a lot of it did absorb in."

The water that didn't get soaked up is now being attacked by a multi-agency effort, including the health department.

"Each of these agencies is treating standing water and are on the lookout for eliminating that also."

The hope is that their efforts will eliminate the West Nile virus. The deadly disease, carried by mosquitos, killed two people in Louisville in 2002, but so far there have been no human cases this year.

"None of our mosquitos that we've tested or birds that we've tested have been positive for West Nile."

Now they're just hoping to keep it that way.

On July 20, the state confirmed the first case of West Nile in a horse. It was reported last week in Monroe County.

Health officials say eliminating standing water and wearing a repellent containing deet can help protect you from the virus.

Online Reporter: Justin Wilfon

Online Producer: Michael Dever